MMR Vaccines and Autism – Is There Truly a Link Between Autism and Routine Vaccinations?
Some continued controversy over vaccines and autism exists. Since many children receive a series of inoculations at a young age and that is around the same time that autism is typically diagnosed, logically one could assume that there would be some correlation. Much of the speculation surrounds the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. Despite the controversy, more important the vaccine does protect children against some dangerous and even deadly diseases and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) continues to recommend that children receive two doses of the vaccine to prevent these horrible diseases from a child’s life. This continues to be a hot topic despite the fact that scientific studies have found no relationship between autism and the vaccine.
In 1998 a group of doctors led by Andrew Wakefield began a study children with autism and controversy began to raise over the connection between vaccines and autism. The study, however, has a number of limitations. The study was relatively small and involved only 12 children, which is too small a number to make any generalizations about. The study tried to correlate gastrointestinal inflammation in children, the MMR vaccine and autism. However, some of the children in the study proved that the symptoms of autism appeared before the bowel disease. In 2004 10 of the 13 authors of this study retracted the study and its interpretations citing that there was not enough data to establish a link between the two. Since that time there have been other larger studies, one done in the UK with 498 children, but results still yet to prove a link between the two.
The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as other groups of experts agree that the vaccine is not responsible for the increases in number of children with autism.
Why then do people still believe the MMR-autism link? They believe it because autism first becomes apparent before the age of three, which is around the same time that childhood vaccines like MMR are given to them. Naturally parents worry over their children so for the randomly few children who demonstrate signs of autism slightly after the inoculation, the parents’ first instinct to place the blame on the vaccine. Desperately these parents are looking for something to blame and since they perceived their child as normal prior to the vaccine, unfortunately, it appeared that the vaccine was the culprit. Further scientific studies have proven this not to be so.